Sunday, September 21, 2008

Matter's Club launch last night featured Carl Cox spinning a five-hour set. Due to the club's location (North Greenwich) and my having to work today, I left at 3.30 am, only getting to hear 1.5 hours of his set. If I didn't have anything else on today, I wouldn't have left that early as the music was awesome. I only really started liking Cox's style when I was listening to his set at Space in Ibiza live on Kiss FM the day before he was due to perform at SW4. I wonder why it took me so long to finally appreciate the genius of the big black Cox, but I'm glad he's still around for me to do so.

I was initially rather sceptical about the so-called revolutionary BodyKinetic Dance Floor at Matter; I mean, so what if you can feel the music through your feet? Does that really make a difference? The very fact I can feel the music so strongly at Ministry of Sound in Singapore makes me very uncomfortable to the point of being physically ill, so suffice it to say, I had some doubts.

I'm glad to report that contrary to my misgivings, the dance floor is pretty damn good to dance on (particularly when no drinks have been spilt on it). It's smooth - proper dancer smooth - and you do feel the music through your feet - but not so much as to cause discomfort. Couple that with the awesome sound system that Matter has in place, the great lighting system and the incredible visuals (Current world #1 VJs (as voted by DJ Mag) Inside-Us-All are the resident), and you get a fully immersive clubbing experience.

In a way, it reminded me of Zouk before it was renovated a few years ago. It had the whole underground vibe, but with all the spanking new gadgets and gimmicks which add to the experiencde, rather than detract from it.

The facilities, I'm happy to say, were also good. There were sufficient lavatories such that the queue was practically non-existent. Every cubicle had toilet paper and the hand-dryers were of the Dyson super-fast variety which I quite like. The cloak room was cheap at £1 an item, and we were served fairly quickly at the bar. Drinks were priced the same as any other top-end club in London (a Becks and a bottle of water cost £3.90).

My main beef, however, was to do with transportation. Getting there was not too difficult in spite of the Jubilee line being suspended for engineering works - I had to take a bus to the Wharf, (passing Lehman's now-dark offices at 25 Bank Street which made me feel a little sad considering the number of times I've walked past it late at night taking some comfort from how brightly-lit the area was) and change to another one going to the O2 - but getting back home was not at all easy! According to Matter's web site, the Thames Clipper runs every half-hour back to Central London. However, I didn't see anyone or any directions as to how to get there when I exited the club. The cab queue, which, strangely enough, was just called "Matter Transport Information", did not look too long by the time we joined it, but, man, the cabs were few and far between. I think we ended up waiting 45 minutes just to get a cab. We couldn't call one either because of the monopoly Matter has in the area.

If it's going to be so hard just to get home (tired clubbers do not want to stand for another 45 minutes just to get home - and this isn't even when the night has ended - particularly not if I have to stand there suffering the whinings of drunk or even sober typical English clubbers), then Matter's going to have to work really hard to ensure that the journey's worth it. I'll have to give the Clipper a go the next time I venture to Matter (October 10 - Bedrock's 10th anniversary) and see if that works better.

All in all, after a series of clubs shutting down in London, it's good to see such a nice, technologically-advanced club which manages to maintain the proper clubbing vibe (in my book) pop up. I hope the transportation kinks are sorted out over the next few weeks and that this venue will continue to feature in my thinking as one of the places to go.

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